1) ADJ: usu ADJ n Private industries and services are owned or controlled by an individual person or a commercial company, rather than by the state or an official organization.

...a joint venture with private industry...

Bupa runs private hospitals in Britain...

Brazil says its constitution forbids the private ownership of energy assets.

Derived words:
privately ADV ADV with v

No other European country had so much state ownership and so few privately owned businesses...

She was privately educated at schools in Ireland and Paris.

2) ADJ: ADJ n Private individuals are acting only for themselves, and are not representing any group, company, or organization.

...the law's insistence that private citizens are not permitted to have weapons...

The King was on a private visit to enable him to pray at the tombs of his ancestors...

The family tried to bring a private prosecution against him for assault.

3) ADJ: usu ADJ n Your private things belong only to you, or may only be used by you.

The landowners have had to sell their private aircraft...

They want more State control over private property...

There are 76 individually furnished bedrooms, all with private bathrooms...

I took the precaution of clearing out my desk before I left, and only my private secretary knows it.

4) ADJ: usu ADJ n Private places or gatherings may be attended only by a particular group of people, rather than by the general public.

673 private golf clubs took part in a recent study...

The door is marked `Private'...

Brian Epstein was buried in a private ceremony at Long Lane Cemetery, Liverpool.

5) ADJ: usu ADJ n Private meetings, discussions, and other activities involve only a small number of people, and very little information about them is given to other people.

Don't bug private conversations, and don't buy papers that reprint them.

Derived words:
privately ADV usu ADV with cl, also ADV after v

Few senior figures have issued any public statements but privately the resignation's been welcomed...

I had not talked to Winnette privately for weeks.

6) ADJ: usu ADJ n Your private life is that part of your life that is concerned with your personal relationships and activities, rather than with your work or business.

I've always kept my private and professional life separate...

My private affairs are no one's business but my own.

7) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n Your private thoughts or feelings are ones that you do not talk about to other people.

We all felt as if we were intruding on his private grief.

...the enactment of her private sexual fantasies...

It's just that it's something very private, and I simply can't talk about it.

Derived words:
privately ADV ADV with cl, ADV with v

Privately, she worries about whether she's really good enough...

He had privately resolved he would buy her the dress.

8) ADJ: ADJ n You can use private to describe situations or activities that are understood only by the people involved in them, and not by anyone else.

Chinese waiters stood in a cluster, sharing a private joke...

As many as 40 per cent of twins have a private language that excludes the rest of the family.

9) ADJ-GRADED If you describe a place as private, or as somewhere where you can be private, you mean that it is a quiet place and you can be alone there without being disturbed.

It was the only reasonably private place they could find.

...a very attractive country house set within a uniquely beautiful and private position...

We were alone, completely private, with not even Angela present.

10) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n If you describe someone as a private person, you mean that they are very quiet by nature and do not reveal their thoughts and feelings to other people.

She has always been a rather private person...

Gould was an intensely private individual.

11) ADJ: usu ADJ n You can use private to describe lessons that are not part of ordinary school activity, and which are given by a teacher to an individual pupil or a small group, usually in return for payment.

Martial arts: Private lessons: ₤8 per hour.

...Donald Tovey, who took her as his private pupil for the piano.

12) N-COUNT; N-TITLE A private is a soldier of the lowest rank in an army or the marines.

One gunner in each battery was an NCO and the rest were privates.

...Private Martin Ferguson.

13) N-PLURAL: usu poss N Your privates are your genitals. [INFORMAL]

You should wash your feet and your privates every day.

14) See also privately
15) PHRASE: usu PHR after v If you do something in private, you do it without other people being present, often because it is something that you want to keep secret.

Some of what we're talking about might better be discussed in private.

English dictionary. 2008.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • private — pri‧vate [ˈpraɪvt] adjective [only before a noun] 1. private property, businesses, activities etc are owned or paid for by people and companies, rather than the government: • They transferred ownership of thousands of companies from the state to …   Financial and business terms

  • Private — Media Group  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Private (homonymie).  Private Media Group …   Wikipédia en Français

  • private — pri·vate adj 1 a: intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person or group or class of persons: not available to the public a private park b: not related to, controlled by, or deriving from the state a private school 2 a: owned by or …   Law dictionary

  • Private — Pri vate (?; 48), a. [L. privatus apart from the state, peculiar to an individual, private, properly p. p. of privare to bereave, deprive, originally, to separate, fr. privus single, private, perhaps originally, put forward (hence, alone, single) …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • private — [prī′vət] adj. [ME pryvat < L privatus, belonging to oneself, not to the state < privare, to separate, deprive < privus, separate, peculiar, prob. akin to OL pri: see PRIME] 1. of, belonging to, or concerning a particular person or… …   English World dictionary

  • Private — can refer to:* Privacy, the ability of a person to control the availability and path of information about himself or herself and exposure of himself or herself. * privately held companies * Private (rank), a military grade * Private (film), a… …   Wikipedia

  • private — ► ADJECTIVE 1) for or belonging to one particular person or group only. 2) (of a service or industry) provided by an individual or commercial company rather than the state. 3) (of thoughts, feelings, etc.) not to be shared or revealed. 4) (of a… …   English terms dictionary

  • Private — Pri vate (pr[imac] v[asl]t), n. 1. A secret message; a personal unofficial communication. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. Personal interest; particular business.[Obs.] [1913 Webster] Nor must I be unmindful of my private. B. Jonson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • private — (adj.) late 14c., from L. privatus set apart, belonging to oneself (not to the state), used in contrast to publicus, communis; originally pp. stem of privare to separate, deprive, from privus one s own, individual, from Old L. pri before.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • private — [adj1] personal, intimate behind the scenes*, clandestine, closet*, close to one’s chest*, confidential, discreet, exclusive, hushed, hush hush*, independent, individual, inside, nonpublic, not open, off the record*, own, particular, privy*,… …   New thesaurus

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